What if…. someone dominates the debrief?


What you will See:

  • One person answering most of the questions
  • One person talking excessively.
  • Most participants remaining silent.

Likely Causes:

  • The person wanted to show that he or she has the correct answers.
  • Other participants are afraid to differ with the dominant person.
  • The person may dominate the work environment and this is simply reflective of the work environment.

How to Prevent it:

  • After the dominant person answers, ask ‘What else?’  This will signal you are looking for alternative possibilities to create discussion.
  • Be patient and wait for additional responses.
  • If you expect one person to dominate, consider talking to that person before the debrief and asking them to observe the discussion and offer comments at the end.

What to Do:

  • When asking questions, make eye contact with the other individuals.
  • Call on a few participants for their thoughts
  • In an extreme case, ask directly for differing thoughts.
  • In the most extreme case and if in the middle of the debrief, stop the debrief and move on to another activity (be sure to have one ready) and use above preventive measures before the next debrief.


Adapted from Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers by Brian Miller.



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